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Article by: Salma A. Shafi 03 June, 2012

A Brief Analysis of CUS Bulletin

A summary of the CUS Bulletin is needed as CUS as an urban research centre completes 40 years of its existence in May, 2012. The Founder Director (current Chairperson) also started publication of a bulletin almost from the beginning. The need for a backup journal is the most appropriate measure for an organization dedicated to research and publication. In this light it is well known that urban issues in a new found country like Bangladesh with a predominant rural character and economy did not get serious attention. But within a short period urbanization has spread throughout the country and urban culture in Bangladesh has joined the urban global trend at all levels of lives of the people.

Prof. Nazrul Islam’s mission and vision to research on urbanization, improvement of urban areas particularly in addressing the plight of the urban poor has received national and global recognition. This has also been realized in his teaching, writings as well as professional work as an urban researcher. CUS as a small institution run by members from varied background and experience have contributed to urban research. Over the years the Centre took the role of a   missionary in providing research support to the Government and Donors in this sector.

In this Special Anniversary Bulletin No. 60-62, I as a volunteer worker of CUS have tried to undertake the task of summarizing all issues of the CUS Bulletin published by the organization and available in the CUS archives. This covers Bulletin Number 1(1973) to Bulletin Numbers 60-62 (2011-2012). Some issues are combined issues. The objective is to explore the history of CUS contribution to urban research as well as understand how CUS research followed urban development needs of Bangladesh. Listing the contribution through research methods in survey, analysis and reporting, experience of attending workshops, seminars, conferences at national and international forums the history is indeed very rich. The narration of unending problems and researching on ways to meet the challenges, finding solutions is indeed very inspiring.  The continuous focus on the need to address problems of the poor has always maintained a central position in the CUS research agenda.

I could not make justice in listing the endless number of important and extremely sensitive research topics contained in the Bulletins, this will take time. The range of solutions that has been written upon and published in varied directions from causes to recovery written by researchers who are members and non members,

students, teachers, professionals etc, all wishing to contribute to the Bulletin. These are people who have participated in many CUS research projects and have been made welcome by CUS to contribute.

A brief listing of the salient features of the CUS Bulletin as found by me are shared below;

  1. The first Number of the Bulletin was brought out in March 1973 in cyclostyled form. It was an occasional publication. It began to be published in printed form since 1987.
  2. In the 40 years since its founding 60-62 bulletins have been published.
  3. The contents and form of reporting, and get up has remained unchanged over time. In recent years the get up has been improved with a nice printed cover or color.
  4. The contents have always focused on urban issues. CUS’s organizational activities have been systematically reported.
  5. The plight of the urban poor particularly statistical information, reporting on eviction is included regularly.
  6. Reporting on the urban environment and natural disaster news have been researched and published.
  7. CUS member’s Personal news, Academic and Professional achievements are always included.
  8. Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, featuring urban issues have been regularly announced and CUS members attending these events are covered in the reporting.
  9. Publication of Books, Monographs and Reports are regular announcements. Reviews on these are also featured
  10. With increase of Art and Cultural activities in the urban life the Bulletin started including news of exhibitions of artists and groups and review of art books and journals have been added to the content.
  11. There are a few special issues which covered particular events and include more articles and research news.
  12. All recent issues of the Bulletin have four color cover, always with reproduction of an urban landscape by some reputed artist of Bangladesh.

Finally it may be noted that a full content inventory of the CUS Bulletin is being readied for publication.

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About Author: Salma A. Shafi

Architect Salma A. Shafi, Architect Urban Planner. Has worked in EIA, IEE, ISA for several large projects (World Bank-ADB supported Jamuna Bridge Project, JICA supported Urban Solid Waste Management etc.

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